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00001 1 2 3 4 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 5 In the Matter of: 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Sponsored by: ALDERMAN JIM BOHL * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * COMMITTEE MEMBERS ALD. JAMES WITKOWIAK - Chair ALD. JAMES BOHL, JR., - Vice-Chairman ALD. TERRY WITKOWSKI ALD. ROBERT PUENTE ALD. WILLIE WADE LICENSING DIVISION by REBECCA BARRON NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES by TOM WESSEL HEALTH DEPARTMENT by PAUL ZEMKE POLICE DEPARTMENT by SEARGENT CHET ULICKEY OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY by ATTORNEY BRUCE SCHRIMPF Proceedings had in the above-entitled matter, before the LICENSES COMMITTEE OF THE CITY OF MILWAUKEE, on the July 17, 2007. File No. 070072 Proposed ordinance seeking to create a classification for small box retail licenses. CITY OF MILWAUKEE LICENSES COMMITTEE 00002 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 P R O C E E D I N G S CHAIRMAN WITKOWIAK: Second file is File No. 070072, a ordinance relating to the licensing of certain types of retail establishments. Alderman Bohl. ALDERMAN BOHL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do have one resident here who would like to speak on this matter. This particular proposed ordinance would seek to create what I term a - - a classification for small box retail licenses. As - - As you know, we have here in the City of Milwaukee, commercial areas that - - that abut mostly residential areas. A - - A perfect example in my district would be Burleigh Street, where you have a small commercial corridor that is located on - - on what is a - - a block face that is mostly single family residential. The commercial properties are across the alley and abut single family residential. The - - In much of the area on these traditional commercial corridors we tend to find smaller mom and pop type stores. On occasions we will find a fairly large retail store, and - and a perfect example in my district is off of 00003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 79th and Burleigh where there is a Family Dollar. This particular store has - - is - - is about 7500 square feet. It's typically the size of - of what we would find in - - in a Walgreen's. The difference is - - is with a number of these smaller retail stores in the City of Milwaukee, or a number of these type of retail stores in the City of Milwaukee, they do not have sufficient parking, being on a residential block and not in - - in a larger type of strip mall. The type of problems that are adherent with these facilities are the loud music from patrons, hence the tiny parking lot if they have them, or residents park on the streets. They - - The residents are disturbed by the loud music. This particular facility does not have sufficient room for its vehicles to - - to deliver - - the trucks to deliver the goods. So they wind up going in the alley at times for hours at a crack, blocking the alleyway. The alley rig - - The rigs actually park in the alley and run their - - their motors. There's a huge amount of litter that gets distributed, not only in the smaller parking lot, but also, in the residential area because there is not sufficient parking. We have seen a number 00004 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 of issues with crime where these type of facilities are - - are - - are robbed, and I've had situations where - - whereby residents have actually had individuals who have attempted armed robberies, have run out the back, run down an alley because they didn't want to park in a - in a parking lot and have literally run through yards where there were kids, with their gun in hand. I have - - I've - - I've looked at ways in which we can try to control - - And this is a fairly small number of establishments, but what we're seeking to do is literally to rein these type of facilities in, because they - - they tend to have a much greater disturbance on the - - the res - - abutting residential neighborhood, is to create a license like we have a 24 hour license, like we have with - - with secondhand motor vehicles, whereby there would be a Chapter 90 procedure. There would be an annual renewal, and if these few - - this - - these number of establishments in the City of Milwaukee, which I will probably surmise is somewhere between 20, 25 and - - and 40, 50, would - - would be required to renew their license, and there - - there would 00005 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 be culpability on the - - on the part of these particular establishments to run themselves well. My personal experience with some of these has been a measure in frustration. I've had neighborhood contacts and complaints regarding these facilities over and over again. This - This particular facility, because it is - - it is a neighborhood shopping in it's own area, is a permitted use. It was an automatic there. But there is the lack of accountability. I've contacted the owner of the facility, and literally, the landlord has actually written me back and copied me some letters that they've warned the - - the property owner on, because the property owner wasn't responding to them. There's been incidents with - - There's been excessive litter. They're not maintaining their - - their dumpsters. They have shopping carts that, even because it's a larger facility, but they don't have just the larger shopping mall type of parking lot presence that you would find in a strip mall. So these type of problems wind up enveloping themselves and carry themselves over into the abutting residential neighborhood. The impact is much greater, and I think that 00006 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 because of that there needs to be a measure where we rein in greater control and actually license these on an annual basis so that there is a greater accountability to both the - - the local alderman, as the representative of that area, and the neighbors who are disproportionately - disproportionately affected by the problems that these larger type of facilities have when they're located in primarily residential neighborhoods. CHAIRMAN WITKOWIAK: Thank you, Alderman Bohl. Let the records show that Alderman Willie Wade has joined the committee. ALDERMAN BOHL: Mr. Chairman, I just - For the - - For the record here. I just wanted to - - to add a few items and one is the police reports on one of these type of facilities in my district that would - - where this particular license, if it is approved, will be passed, and it just - - The - - In the past year and a half the number of calls, thefts, nine armed robberies, the batteries, so on and so forth, this type of - - of activity here is far disproportionate to what we find with any of the other smaller mom and pops shops in that particular area. The numerous calls that I've 00007 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 received - - I'll also submit for the record, some of the complaints have been made to my office, in addition to the fact, a number of the responses or lack thereof that have come from this particular landlord of this facility, this Family Dollar facility on 79th and Burleigh, as well as the fact that the - - a number of the additional letters that have come even from the landlord who have responded to my - - to my concerns, and has said, "We can't get a response from this particular store." That's - - my issue is we need to rein in these type of facilities like we do with the - - the 24 hour licenses, like we do with the - - the - - the - - used motor vehicle sales facilities, particularly the small neighborhood ones. As I said, it's not a large number that I believe that are here in the City, but we do need that accountability that doesn't exist currently. CHAIRMAN WITKOWIAK: Thank you, Alderman. Do you want to make these - ALDERMAN BOHL: Yes. I'll move to make these materials part of the official record. CHAIRMAN WITKOWIAK: Motion by Alderman Bohl is to make the materials referred to as part 00008 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 of the permanent record in this hearing, and hearing no objections, so ordered. Now, we have some people in the audience that wish to speak on this matter? Good morning. Please identify yourself for the record. THE WITNESS: My name is Carol Griffin, and I live on 80th and Burleigh. My mother lives just adjacent to Family Dollar's parking lot. We've experienced so many of the things that Alderman Bohl has just referred to. My mother and I were victims of an armed robbery on December 29th last year. They took both of our purses and held a gun to my mother's head. We did get some of the things back, but that's here and gone. It's an open case, so I don't think that will be resolved. There's litter that Alderman Bohl referred to as well. I was out there just last week, or the week before, three times picking up litter. The dumpster situation has improved somewhat. They keep it closed once in a while. They did lock them for a while. The driver unlocked it. I don't know what happened to the bar that secured it. People come from wherever out of the neighborhood probably and dump their 00009 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 garbage into the dumpsters. They can still get into the dumpsters with that bar across. There is male public urination. I seen that about three or four times. The - - The noise, because they come - - The cars exiting Family Dollar usually use the alley and go east or west in the alley, and people in the dumpsters at night or during the day, actually scrounging for items that probably Family Dollar was discarding. So when you come home late at night, my mother's back door is right across the alley from there. You know, you're not aware until you hear something. And you have your back turned, how to get into the door, so you try to get in as quickly as you can. And there's excess traffic. It's just a whole scope of problems that Alberman Bohl has addressed. MR. SCHRIMPF: Mr. Chairman. CHAIRMAN WITKOWIAK: Thank you. Mr. Schrimpf. MR. SCHRIMPF: Ma'am, you mentioned public urination. THE WITNESS: Um-hnh. MR. SCHRIMPF: These were customers of the - - 00010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 THE WITNESS: Yes, they were. MR. SCHRIMPF: - - the store? THE WITNESS: Right. A lot of times they would go - - The - - You know, carloads would come of people. They'd shop, and the male would go out and urinate. MR. SCHRIMPF: And you also mentioned individuals going into the dumpsters? THE WITNESS: Yes. MR. SCHRIMPF: To see, this is what, discarded materials from the store. THE WITNESS: Um-hnh. Yes. Um-hnh. I've seen this one guy on a bike that comes - In fact, I just saw him the other day. He didn't get into the dumpster this time, but he was there on site looking - - trying to get in to see what was there. MR. SCHRIMPF: Dumpster diving. Thank you. CHAIRMAN WITKOWIAK: Thank you for your testimony. ALDERMAN BOHL: Mr. Chairman. THE WITNESS: Thank you. CHAIRMAN WITKOWIAK: Alderman Bohl. ALDERMAN BOHL: Ms. Griffin. 00011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 THE WITNESS: Um-hnh. ALDERMAN BOHL: How many times would you say that you have contacted me either by phone, e-mail, letter? THE WITNESS: Oh, I'd say probably about five times, I would think. ALDERMAN BOHL: And - - And, for example, how close does - - would you say that your mother - - your mother's back door is from the - - the facility at - - at the Family Dollar you're speaking of? THE WITNESS: You - ALDERMAN BOHL: Like where the dumpsters are, their property line. THE WITNESS: I would say probably maybe 15 feet at the most, give or take. ALDERMAN BOHL: Have you - - have you been to other type of similar stores, Family Trees, others like that? THE WITNESS: Yes. I frequent Dollar Tree quite frequently. ALDERMAN BOHL: Are you familiar with one that's located in - - in the Times Square Mall Shopping Center? THE WITNESS: Um-hnh. 00012 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 ALDERMAN BOHL: 76th and Capitol Drive. THE WITNESS: Um-hnh. ALDERMAN BOHL: That is - - That is a larger strip mall. THE WITNESS: Um-hnh, correct. ALDERMAN BOHL: Do you - - From - From where you are positioned in your type of establishment where there's very minimal parking that comes out of the side, and there's all sorts of associated problems, do you see similarities between the - - the two stores? THE WITNESS: Not really. ALDERMAN BOHL: Other than - - Other than the content. I mean, in terms of - THE WITNESS: No. Right. There is no alley for them to go down. There is ample parking. You know. And their baskets now, I noticed have the tall metal pole on it. They can't get out the door. ALDERMAN BOHL: Mr. Chairman, that - And what I - - I guess, maybe Ms. Griffin isn't the expert on this, but what I'm - - what I'm going to tell you is we have these type of facilities that are located in areas where there's ample parking, where they're not adjacent 00013 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 to immediately residential neighborhood, where all of the impacts from loud noise, to litter, to carts being loose, to - - to vehicles parking, to everything else, is rather contained within the larger shopping mall area, and then there are these other large facilities that - - that far exceed 6,000 square feet that do not have sufficient parking, that are located just a matter of feet from a residential area. This - - Again, this particular proposal would seek to - - to rein in and provide greater accountability and control for those very few facilities we have in the City that - - that don't meet these necessary criteria. And I just - - I think it's important for us to take this step, and actually show these type of businesses, the few that exist, that there should be a measure of accountability. Because I'll just tell you, my experience has been that it's lacking. Thank you. CHAIRMAN WITKOWIAK: Thank you, Alderman. Thank you for your - - Do we have any questions for this - - for this witness? No. Thank you very much for your testimony. Is there anyone else here to testify on this matter? This 00014 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 is - - This is File No. 070072, the ordinance relating to licensing certain types of retail establishments. Okay. MR. SCHRIMPF: Mr. Chairman? CHAIRMAN WITKOWIAK: Mr. Schrimpf. MR. SCHRIMPF: Our office was aware of this proposal for the first time on - - late on Friday afternoon, and over the weekend some research was attempted to get done. We had a couple of problems, one of them was with the findings. What Alderman Bohl has introduced and what the lady has testified to has assisted greatly with that. However, we're still a little bit concerned about the break-off of the 6,000 square feet. That's one point. The - - We've also been doing some checking and .. there's grocery stores, those sorts of things, and we're concerned a little bit about the - - the pro - or the ramifications of that. And then finally, this is - - this is something that the City has not done before, and that is create a general retail license. Many cities have done it. They do it really under two approaches. One would not be - - I did a quick check around the country. One combines taxation 00015 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 and licensing. We can't do that in Wisconsin. But there are other cities in Wisconsin that do have general business licenses, but then the fee is a whole lot less, and some of these other requirements are, as this ordinance has, are not included within it. And this really has a breakoff, as Alderman Bohl correctly pointed out. It isn't - - Although it's styled a general retail license, the fact of the matter is it only covers a relatively smaller number of - - of retail establishments. These are - - That raises potentially legal protection issues. So there's these issues that our office would appreciate an opportunity to take a look at and if we see problems, to advise the - - the drafters and the - - the introducers of the document toward the - - the ordinance. That's all I have. CHAIRMAN WITKOWIAK: Thank you, Mr. Schrimpf. Any questions by members of the committee? I - - I would ask - - I would ask Alderman Bohl if there's any - - is there any urgency on - - on passing this, or would it - would it be astute to ask the City attorney to look this over. ALDERMAN BOHL: No, I - - We can - - I 00016 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 - - I'd be happy to hold it one cycle. That obviously is a longer cycle this time than normal, so I think that will probably provide them ample time. MR. SCHRIMPF: Yeah. ALDERMAN BOHL: Okay. MR. SCHRIMPF: Thank you. ALDERMAN BOHL: I would - - I would make that motion, Mr. Chairman, at this time. CHAIRMAN WITKOWIAK: Motion by Alderman Bohl is to hold this matter at the Call of the Chair. Are there any objections to that motion? Hearing none, so ordered. * * * * * 00017 1 2 3 STATE OF WISCONSIN ) 4 ) 5 MILWAUKEE COUNTY ) 6 7 I, JEAN M. BARINA, of Milwaukee Reporters 8 Associated, Inc., 5124 West Blue Mound Road, 9 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53208, certify that the foregoing 10 proceedings is a full and complete transcript of the 11 audio recording taken in the foregoing proceedings. 12 13 14 15 16 17 JEAN M. BARINA 18 Court Reporter 19 20 21 22 Dated this day of November, 2007.
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